Schoenmaker: “I thought I was dying because I was going way too fast”


  • World Record: Lilly King (USA) – 1:04.13 (2017)
  • Olympic Record: Lilly King (USA) – 1:04.93 (2016)
  • World Junior Record: Ruta Meilutyte (LTU) – 1:05.21 (2014)
  • 2016 Olympic Champion: Lilly King (USA) – 1:04.93
  • SwimSwam Event Preview – Women’s 100 Breaststroke

Tatjana Schoenmaker of South Africa downed the Olympic Record and the African Record in the 100 breast in prelims on Sunday night, clocking a 1:04.82 to lead the field by .7 heading into semi-finals. She moved from 17th to 5th on the all-time list of performers in the event.

“I didn’t expect that at all. When I saw I was ahead, I thought I was dying because I was going way too fast at the end and I thought I could just try and hold on,” said Schoenmaker after her record-breaking performance.

Photo courtesy Simone Castrovillari

“I obviously saw that they were catching up a bit at the end and I was getting quite tired… I didn’t expect that, very happy with that as a first race. In the end, I was feeling a bit tired. My stroke rate was much higher so I could feel I went out strong. I’m not sure what my going out time was but it was probably my PB.”

Photo courtesy Simone Castrovillari

“I’m happy with my time and I feel like this has taken a mountain off my shoulders, so now I can just enjoy racing like the world’s best.”

Photo courtesy Simone Castrovillari

Schoenmaker was fifth seed coming into the Games with 1:05.69 from South African Nationals in April 2021. That swim was a lifetime best. It broke both the national and continental records and earned her a qualification for the Tokyo Olympics.

Top 10 All Time

  1. 1:04.13 KING Lilly USA 2017
  2. 1:04.35 MEILUTYTE Ruta LTU 2013
  3. 1:04.36 EFIMOVA Yuliya RUS 2017
  4. 1:04.45 HARDY Jessica USA 2009
  5. 1:04.82 SCHOENMAKER Tatjana RSA 2021
  6. 1:04.84 SONI Rebecca USA 2009

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Ol' Longhorn
1 month ago

It’s weird how we all talk about how dominant Lilly is in the 100 breast, but when you look at the all-time best times, there’s very little separation. Compare that to Peaty in the 100 breast, or Dressel in the 100 fly, or Milak in the 200 fly, or Ledecky in the 1500.

1 month ago

I like this girl! And I like to see some great competition for Lilly

Not Tapered 🏊
1 month ago

Good chance at double 🥇🥇

1 month ago

South Africa have a really great breaststroke tradition with Olympic champions in Penny Hanes and Cameron Van de Burgh

Last edited 1 month ago by Kudzai
Nadine Waddell
Reply to  Kudzai
1 month ago

Well done to a World Class Performance! You are a ⭐️!!! Be Blessed!🌻💫

About Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant is the mother of four daughters, all of whom swam in college. With an undergraduate degree from Princeton (where she was an all-Ivy tennis player) and an MBA from INSEAD, she worked for many years in the financial industry, both in France and the U.S. Anne is currently …

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